Brive's ambitions of climbing the hierarchy of the Top 14 took a further dent on Friday with a 44-16 defeat at the hands of Stade FranÃ§ais.
The result, indeed the manner, of the victory spelled out just what is wrong with Brive at the moment and just how far the Parisians have come since Jacques Delmas took over. How much of each aspect was evident here is a moot point, but the huge gulf in class was definitely a bit of both.
At least the game began tightly, and underwhelmingly at that. Brive went on the attack and, as has become the wont over the first few weeks of the season, took the lead with an Andy Goode drop goal.
Problem for them was, Goode offered little beyond territorial edge - his pack was being shoved all over the place - and so Brive once again failed miserably to create on attack.
Once the Parisians had the upper hand in the forwards, they were merciless. After seven minutes, a driven maul saw prop David Attoub break off, pop to Sergio Parisse who made short work of announcing his comeback from suspension by taking the ball into the 22 and popping the scoring pass to Antoine Burban. Falie Oelschig converted.
Both sides missed penalties as the game became an arm-wrestle, but it was one that Brive were never going to win. Oelschig landed two penalties to Goode's one to keep the scoreboard ticking over, but as Delmas had requested in the week, the pink defence stood resolute.
And eventually, as Delmas had predicted, the pink attack cut loose. Oelschig started it all, sniping off a ruck after a thunderous charge from Geoffroy Messina.
Goode pulled back a penalty, but it mattered not. Mark Gasnier thundered through for one try, then got on the end of a delicious kick from Julien Dupuy for another.
A brief break-out from Brive got them a consolation score, with Antoine Claasen getting his second in two games, but Stade had the final word with a fifth try from James Haskell, under the watchful eyes of Martin Johnson.
For Stade FranÃ§ais:
Tries: Burban, Messina, Gasnier 2, Haskell
Cons: Oelschig 4, Dupuy
Pens: Beauxis, Oelshchig 2
Pens: Goode 3
Drop goal: Goode